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The Human Assets of a City

How do you save a city after a half century of destructive urban policy and anti urban cultural trends?  That is the question we are all trying to answer these days. These days news is full of this or that project intended to make the city more attractive to the masses.  These projects rarely, however, trump the serious problems stemming from the poverty that is concentrated so heavily in parts of the city. Poor schools, crime, and outright racism are giant barriers to saving many of our cities. Some say  ‘Don’t try to save the city’.  They say ‘Wipe it away and start over from nothing’.   Starting from scratch has been the American way after all.
I stumbled upon this wonderful video on Detroit (see below), which is a wrecked city by any measure.  The video posted here is the first segment of a three part series focusing on some of the people who have a different attitude toward the city.  They are not waiting for it to be fixed.  They are fixing it themselves. These are the people that any successful city needs.  They are the people who will fix things without waiting for someone to wipe the problems away first or to fund a silver bullet.  Although chronically lacking in quality political leadership, Buffalo has more of these kinds of ‘take on the problem’ people than in any time I can remember in my lifetime.  This is why I am so much more optimistic about Buffalo’s future today than I was a decade ago.  Check out the video (link).  It touches on many issues that parallel Buffalo.   Buffalo has retained more of its physical assets.  Can it now leverage its human assets to save a city?

Written by David Steele

David Steele

Architect ( a real one, not just the armchair type), author of "Buffalo, Architecture in the American Forgotten Land" ( ), lover of great spaces, hater of sprawl and waste,
advocate for a better way of doing things.

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